Market woes hit SBI students

School of Business and Industry faculty said bankruptcy and bailouts on Wall Street may affect SBI students if they are not prepared for risks and competition in the marketplace

Charles Evans, associate dean of SBI, said the recent collapse of Lehman Brothers, an investment bank, and the bailout of mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by the U.S. government, have some students worried about their future on Wall Street. A tough economy brings even tougher decisions that SBI students at FAMU will be forced to face.

According to Evans, there are 360 graduating seniors in the four year business program, 141 students in their fifth-year of the professional Master’s of Business Administration program and 18 graduating students in the two-year MBA program.

Evans said students with a concentration in finance risk being affected by the closing of investment banks. But students must understand the market is “cyclic in nature.”

“There are good times and bad times,” he said. “There is a segment of the investment side that is not doing well.  It will change and go back up.”

Evans also said SBI is lucky to have strong relationships with mortgage and investment firms that provide students with internships.

With more than 40 students on Wall Street this summer, Keenan Williams, 21, a senior finance student from Philadelphia, said that some of his friends were hired for full-time positions in different sectors.

“A number of interns in SBI who were on Wall Street got full-time positions they didn’t apply for,” Williams said. “They worked in sales, research, equity, fixed income and now work in operations.”

With a lack of job security branching from ongoing buyouts, layoffs and bankruptcies, Williams said he and other seniors are preparing for the market the right way.

“Seniors who have offers and who are in the study stage are in a study grind,” he said. “Wall Street will chew you up and spit you out. A layoff your first year cannot get you another job anywhere.”

Investment companies like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are in a “layoff cycle” and some interns witnessed their boss get laid off, he said. Students are staying in touch with previous employers and other students on Wall Street to avoid permanent job displacement.

“The only thing to shield us is to keep in contact with people to get hired somewhere else,” Williams said.  

Alex Moore, associate dean of administration for SBI, admits the economy is having trouble with company failures, liquidity issues and high-energy costs, but students should realize that the economy will “recover.”

“Students need to be mindful and informed always about the current state of our economy,” Moore said. “The U.S. economy and Wall Street will recover, we are the strongest economy still in the world.”

Moore recommends that students change any short-term career goals with a realistic outlook on the economy.  

“Recognize that you have the advantage of being young, gifted, and special,” Moore said. “Add flexibility and the capacity to make short term adjustment in order to achieve long term goals.”

Despite troubles in the marketplace, students should still take advantage of the relationship SBI has with Wall Street companies, said Karl Lawrence, a former finance professor.

“Students are quite fortunate that many of the Wall Street firms that recruit at the university…have been minimally affected by the recent turbulence within the financial sector,” Lawrence said.

Even though layoffs are a concern for some students, Lawrence advises SBI students to still reach out to companies on Wall Street for employment.

“The market always values talent, those students who are able to distinguish themselves can still expect to receive job offers from Wall Street firms,” he said.

As a result of the market crisis, students should expect to prepare for careers as wealth advisors, quantitative researchers and portfolio risk management professionals.